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Dundee United
DUFC 100years.png
Full name Dundee United Football Club
Nickname(s) The Terrors
The Arabs (supporters)
Founded 24 May 1909 as Dundee Hibernian
Ground Tannadice Park, Dundee
(Capacity: 14,209)
Chairman Scotland Stephen Thompson
Manager Scotland Peter Houston
League Scottish Premier League
2008–09 Scottish Premier League, 5th
Home colours
Away colours
Current season

Dundee United Football Club are a Scottish professional football club located in the city of Dundee. Formed in 1909, originally as Dundee Hibernian,[1] the club changed to the present name in 1923.[2] United are nicknamed The Terrors[3] and the supporters known as The Arabs.[4]

The club has played in tangerine kits since the 1960s and have played at the present ground, Tannadice Park, since their foundation in 1909. United were founder members of the Scottish Premier League (SPL) in 1998 and have been ever-present in the competition since then. The family of the late Eddie Thompson, chairman from September 2002[5] until his death in October 2008, are the majority shareholders of Dundee United, whilst the supporters, under the guise of ArabTRUST, own the second largest shareholding. In 2008–09, Tannadice attracted an average attendance of 8,654,[6] the sixth-highest in the SPL.

Domestically, the club has won the Scottish Premier Division on one occasion, winning the Scottish Cup once and the Scottish League Cup twice. In European competition, the club played in European competition for the first time at the end of the 1964–65 season, going on to appear in European competition in 14 successive seasons from 1976, reaching a European Cup semi-final and UEFA Cup final. Uniquely, the club has a 100% record against Barcelona in competitive European ties.[7]




Beginning (1909–1971)

1914 team

Inspired by the example of Hibernian in Edinburgh the Irish Catholic community in Dundee formed a new football club in 1909, following the demise of Dundee Harp. Originally called Dundee Hibernian, the club took over Clepington Park (renamed Tannadice Park) from Dundee Wanderers and played its inaugural game on 18 August, 1909 against Hibernian, a match which ended in a 1–1 draw.[8] The following year, the club was voted into the Scottish Football League. The club was saved from going out of business in October 1923 by a group of Dundee businessmen who then decided to change the club's name to Dundee United in order to attract a wider appeal; the name Dundee City was considered but was objected to by long standing city rivals Dundee F.C..[9]

1929–30 team

United won promotion to the First Division for the first time in 1924–25 when they won the Second Division title, although they were relegated back down within two seasons.[9] Despite another title win (and immediate relegation), for many years, the club languished in the lower reaches of the Scottish league, competing in the top division for only four seasons, until the appointment of Jerry Kerr as manager in 1959. Kerr ended the club's 28-year absence from the First Division in his first season in charge, winning promotion by finishing second in the Second Division. Some notable players from this period include forwards Dennis Gillespie and Jim Irvine, and defenders Doug Smith and Ron Yeats (who went on to captain Liverpool in the 1960s).[10]

1937–38 team

In the following season, United finished in the top half of the league (one place above city rivals Dundee), where the club stayed with few exceptions for the next 35 years. A strengthened playing squad during the 1960s, which included imports from Scandinavia such as Örjan Persson, Finn Seemann, Lennart Wing, Finn Døssing and Mogens Berg,[10] gave United their first taste of European football. On 25 August 1966 Dundee United eliminated Barcelona, then holders of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (now known as the UEFA Cup), beating them 2–1 in Spain, the first Scottish club to win in that country.

Jim McLean era (1971–1994)

Jim McLean, who was a coach at city rivals Dundee F.C. at the time, took over from Jerry Kerr in 1971 and the most successful era in the club's history began. Until then, United was the smaller and less successful of the two Dundee-based football clubs, but McLean (and for a time, with assistant manager Walter Smith) took United to their first ever Scottish Cup final in 1973–74. They achieved a record high of third place in the Scottish Premier Division in 1977–78 then again in 1978–79, before guiding the side to several major honours; the first by winning the Scottish League Cup in 1979–80, retaining the trophy in the following season. McLean's use of youth was seen as key in the club's success for the next two decades.[11]

Dundee United won the Scottish Premier Division title for the first time in the club's history in the 1982–83 season, with what was then a record number of points and record number of goals scored. By then, United had already established a reputation in Europe with wins over sides like AS Monaco, Borussia Mönchengladbach, PSV Eindhoven, Anderlecht and Werder Bremen. In the resulting European Cup, United reached the semi-final stage in their first run, only to be narrowly eliminated by AS Roma. After winning the first leg 2–0, United lost 3–0 away, although the Italian side was later fined for attempting to bribe the referee.[12] In 1986, a year's suspension was imposed by UEFA on the Italians alongside a four-year ban for president Dino Viola, due to the bribery attempt.[13]

The pinnacle of Dundee United's achievements in Europe came later in 1986–87, when United became the first Scottish club to reach the final of the UEFA Cup.[11] Along the way, United repeated their 1966 feat of eliminating Barcelona, this time managed by Terry Venables and featuring British players Gary Lineker, Mark Hughes, and Steve Archibald. United defeated Barcelona home and away; they remain the only British side to date to achieve this in any European competition, with a record of four wins from four games.[14] Although they failed to beat IFK Gothenburg in the two-legged final, there was glory in defeat as FIFA awarded a first-ever Fair Play Award to the club for the sporting behaviour of the fans on a memorable night at Tannadice Park.[15]

During those years, Dundee United and Aberdeen broke the traditional dominance of the Old Firm in Scottish football, and the two clubs became known in the press as the New Firm,[16] or sometimes, with the inclusion of Hearts, the Small Firm.[17] As Dundee F.C. were not always in the top flight at that time, the New Firm derby superseded the Dundee derby. Dundee United had come a long way under McLean, progressing from comparative obscurity to become one of Scotland's foremost clubs. In June 1993, after nearly 22 years at the helm, McLean relinquished his position as manager, remaining as club chairman, having combined both roles since 1989.[18]

After McLean (1994 onwards)

SPL season-by-season summary[6]

Filling McLean's shoes was the first non-British and non-Irish manager of a Scottish club - Ivan Golac.[19] He inherited a healthy legacy with some of Scotland's finest young talent, though his first action was to sell Duncan Ferguson to Rangers for a fee of £4 million, breaking the record transfer fee involving two British clubs.[20] According to one source,[21] United had already turned down £3 million bids from Bayern Munich, Leeds United and Chelsea before accepting Rangers' record bid. In Golac's first season, he brought the Scottish Cup to Tannadice Park for the first time in 1994 after six previous failures, thus completing the full set of domestic honours for the club.[18] United beat Rangers 1–0 with Craig Brewster scoring the winner from close range. However, the club's fortunes took a turn for the worse after this, as despite enjoying a relatively average campaign in season 1994–95, a late run of defeats, culminating in a 1–0 defeat at home to Celtic on the last day, saw them relegated to the First Division. Despite being title favourites at the lower level, they eventually finished second, which left them facing a two leg play-off against Partick Thistle for the right to play in the Premier Division in the 1996–97 season. Dundee United won 3–2 on aggregate, with Owen Coyle scoring the extra-time winner.[18]

In recent years the club has struggled to maintain such success, much like the previous provincial powers of Scottish football. In 1997–98, United reached the League Cup final, but lost 3–0 to Celtic. United reached their first Scottish Cup final for eleven years in 2004–05, only to be beaten by Celtic again, 1–0. Since the SPL's conception in 1998, United have finished in the top half on only three occasions (2003–04, 2007–08) and (2008–09, . They finished 9th for three consecutive seasons, between 2005 and 2007. However the purchase of the club by long-time supporter Eddie Thompson in 2002 brought a period of sustained investment in playing staff and managers. the 2007–08 season saw United narrowly lose the League Cup final on penalties, under manager Craig Levein and miss out on a UEFA Cup place in the last two matches of the season.

In October 2008, chairman Eddie Thompson died from prostate cancer,[22] six years after a protracted battle to gain control of the club from former manager Jim McLean.[23]

Colours and badge

Pre-1993 lion rampant design
Regular logo
For a complete pictorial history of playing kit, see the Historical Football Kits site.

United's playing kit is tangerine in colour, first used when the team played under the Dallas Tornado moniker in the United Soccer Association competition of 1967, which they were invited to participate in after their first European excursion had created many headlines in the football world.[24] After persuasion by the wife of manager Jerry Kerr, the colour would soon be adopted as the club's own in 1969 to give the club a brighter, more modern image. The new colour was paraded for the first time in a pre-season friendly against Everton in August.[24]

When originally founded as Dundee Hibernian, they had followed the example of other clubs of similar heritage by adopting the traditionally Irish colours of green shirts and white shorts. By the time the club became Dundee United in 1923, the colours had been changed to white shirts and black shorts as they sought to distance themselves from their Irish origins. These colours persisted in various forms up until 1969, sometimes using plain shirts, but also at various times including Celtic-style broad hoops, Queen's Park-style narrow hoops and an Airdrie-style "V" motif.

The present club badge was introduced in 1993, and saw the previous lion rampant design rebranded in a new circular logo incorporating the club colours.[25] To mark the club's centenary in 2009, a special version of the badge with an added "1909 2009 Centenary" logo has been introduced for the duration of the 2009–10 season.

Previously, the lion had been represented on a simpler shield design. Although this "classic" version had been used as the club crest on the cover of the matchday programme as early as 1956, it had never appeared on the players' strip prior to 1983. Since 1959, various other designs had been worn on the shirts, incorporating either the lion rampant or the letters DUFC, often on a circular badge.

The club first introduced shirt sponsorship in the 1985–86 season when future chairman Eddie Thompson's VG chain sponsored the club in the first of a two-year deal. A six-year associate with Belhaven then ensued with a sponsorless 1993–94 season. Rover began a two-year deal early in time for the 1994 Scottish Cup final, sponsoring the club until the end of the 1995–96 season. Telewest took over sponsorship from 1996 for six years until Eddie Thompson's Morning, Noon and Night started sponsoring the club in 2002. This association continued until 2006 when Anglian Home Improvements began a two-year deal with an optional third year. At the same time, Ole International became the first shorts sponsors. JD Sports' Carbrini Sportswear brand began sponsoring the club from season 2008–09.

United have had a number of official kit suppliers, including Adidas, Hummel and, from June 2009, Nike.


Dundee United's home ground throughout their history has been Tannadice Park, located on Tannadice Street in the Clepington area of the city. It is situated a mere 170 yards (160 m) away from Dens Park, home of rivals Dundee; the two stadia are the closest senior football grounds anywhere in the United Kingdom.[26] The club has only ever played one home fixture at another venue. This was a League Cup tie against Rangers in March 1947, when despite snow rendering Tannadice Park unplayable, the match was able to go ahead across the road at Dens Park.

Tannadice is currently an all-seater with a capacity of 14,223.[27] The Main Stand, built in 1962, was the first cantilever to be constructed at a Scottish football ground.[8] For long periods of its history, only a small proportion of the ground contained seated accommodation. In the late 1980s the ground had 2,252 seats out of a total capacity of 22,310.[8]

The comparative age and proximity of their stadia has led to various discussions about the possibility of both Dundee clubs moving to a new, purpose-built shared stadium. The most recent proposal was put forward as part of Scotland's bid to jointly host the UEFA Euro 2008 championship,[28] with several clubs seeking to benefit from a new stadium.[29] With planning permission given to a proposed site at Caird Park,[30] special dispensation was requested to proceed with the proposal,[31] as rules at the time forbade SPL teams from groundsharing. Following Scotland's failed bid to host the tournament, the scheme was shelved,[32] although it was resurrected in June 2008, following doubts about joint-host Ukraine's ability to stage Euro 2012, and the SFA's keenness to act as an alternative host.[33]


There have been several stories regarding the origins of the "Arabs" term. The most popular view is that the name was coined during the severe winter of the 1962/63 season. The weather was so bad, with heavy snow that refused to thaw, that between December and March, Dundee United were able to play only three times. One of these was a Scottish Cup tie against Albion Rovers, for which the management, in a desperate attempt to get Tannadice Park playable, hired an industrial tar burner to melt the several inches of snow and ice from the pitch. Not only did it do this, but it also removed the grass. Several lorry loads of builder's sand were spread across the barren surface, and the regulation pitch markings painted on top. United adapted well to this playing surface and won the game 3–0, prompting observers to comment that they had taken to the sand like Arabs.[4] Other sources point to earlier usage, with a "1950s sandtrap" used as one such reference.[34] The fans, however, used the term to describe themselves. Deacon Blue singer and long-time Dundee United supporter Ricky Ross wrote a song declaring he was Proud to be an Arab'. By the 1990s, the official club souvenir shops were selling replica keffiyehs, in tangerine and black.[4]

The former Dundee United Supporters Association (DUSA) is now known as the Federation of Dundee United Supporters' Clubs. On 1 February, 2003, the Dundee United Supporters Society—ArabTRUST—was officially launched,[35] and after regular share purchase and investment into the club, ArabTRUST is not only the largest shareholder in the club behind the Thompson family, but was also granted an Associate Directorship in early 2004.[36] The official club weekly email newsletter is known as ArabNeWS, and the club website has an ArabFORUM. Various supporters clubs and fan websites also have "Arab" in their names. Elsewhere, the football media tend to refer to the club mostly as The Arabs, although the official website confirms this refers to the fans, and the club's nickname is The Terrors.[37] In a BBC online poll in March 2006, Dundee United fan Zippy was named as Britain's favourite sporting celebrity by a landslide margin.[38]

Dundee United supporters were awarded the inaugural FIFA Fair Play Award for their sportsmanship after the UEFA Cup final defeat to IFK Gothenburg in 1987.[15]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
FIFA Fair Play Award Winners
Succeeded by
Frank Ordenewitz



Dundee United's first trophy came in 1925, when they won the 1924–25 Division Two championship. After two seasons in the top tier, they were relegated, but they won the Division Two title for a second time in 1928–29. Immediate relegation followed and the club finished runners-up in 1931–32.[9] Another runners-up spot was claimed in 1959–60, in manager Jerry Kerr's first season, and from then club remained in the top division for the next thirty-five years.[10] Under Jim McLean's management, the club won the Premier Division title for the only time, in 1982–83, resulting in European Cup football the following season. The title win was United's last league success, although they finished runners-up in the First Division in 1995–96, after being relegated the previous season, and in third place in their first season back in the Premier Division.[18] Since the SPL's conception in 1998, United have finished in the top half three times, in 2003–04, 2007–08, and 2008–09.


The club had to wait several decades before their first realistic chance at cup silverware, when they began the first of a six-game losing streak of Scottish Cup Final appearances in 1974, losing 3–0 to Celtic. Towards the end of the 1970s, things began to change, with three successive appearances in the League Cup Final. United won their first major trophy with a 3–0 replay victory over Aberdeen in the 1979–80 Scottish League Cup Final.[39] The club reached both cup finals in the following season; while they retained the League Cup by winning 3–0 against rivals Dundee,[39] United lost out again in the Scottish Cup with a replay defeat to Rangers. United reached a third consecutive League Cup Final in 1981–82, but failed to make it a hat-trick of wins as they lost 2–1 to Rangers.[39]

United then suffered the agony of reaching three out of four Scottish Cup finals in the mid-1980s, only to lose them all by a single goal. First came a 2–1 defeat to Celtic in 1984–85, compounded by a 1–0 League Cup final loss to Rangers in the same season; then a 1–0 defeat in extra time to St. Mirren in 1986–87; and finally, a last-minute 2–1 loss against Celtic the following year, despite being a goal ahead.[11] A three year gap ensued before the 1990–91 Scottish Cup final, which pitted Jim McLean against his brother Tommy, at Motherwell. The final was won 4–3 by 'Well, with United again losing in extra time.[18] The sixth Cup Final loss was also the club's fifth final appearance in eleven years.

These defeats in cup finals at Hampden Park led to the Scottish football media claiming that United suffered from a Hampden hoodoo, as they had failed to win ten cup finals played at the ground between 1974 and 1991.[40] When the club reached the 1994 Scottish Cup Final, manager Ivan Golac dismissed talk of the hoodoo, even though opponents Rangers were strong favourites to complete a domestic treble in the 1993–94 season.[40] Fortunately for United, they finally reversed the trend and clinched the Scottish Cup when Craig Brewster's goal gave them a 1–0 win.[18][40] Eleven years passed until the next, and most recent, Scottish Cup final appearance, when United lost 1–0 to Celtic. Sandwiched in the middle of these appearances was a defeat on penalties to Stenhousemuir in the Scottish Challenge Cup (when United failed to concede in the whole competition) and a 3–0 defeat to Celtic in the 1997–98 Scottish League Cup Final. In July 2005, United won the inaugural City of Discovery Cup, a pre-season tournament held in Dundee.

Six of United's eight Scottish Cup finals have been against Celtic or Rangers and of the club's last five losses, all have been by a single goal. Overall, United have reached thirteen domestic finals and won three; the record of winning one of eight Scottish Cup finals is the worst ratio of any Cup winner. United twice reached both cup finals in the same season (1980–81 and 1984–85), winning just one of the four. United most recently lost the 2008 CIS league cup final on penalties to Rangers after the match had finished 2–2 after extra time.


The club's first experience of Europe came in 1966–67 when, helped by a clutch of Scandinavian players, United defeated Fairs Cup holders F.C. Barcelona both home and away. Although Juventus proved too strong in the next round with a 3–1 aggregate victory, United made headlines and were asked to compete as Dallas Tornado in the United Soccer Association league in North America during the summer of 1967.[10] After their only Premier Division championship win, the team reached the resulting semi-final of the European Cup in 1984, losing 3–2 on aggregate to Roma. In 1987, the club went one better, reaching the final of the UEFA Cup. Despite the 2–1 aggregate loss to IFK Gothenburg, the Arabs won the first-ever FIFA Fair Play Award for their sporting behaviour after the final defeat.[15]


Current squad

First-team squad

As of 18 March 2010:[42][43] Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Slovakia GK Dušan Perniš
2 Republic of Ireland DF Sean Dillon
3 Scotland DF Andy Webster (on loan from Rangers)
4 Scotland DF Lee Wilkie (captain)
5 Scotland DF Darren Dods
6 Scotland MF Craig Conway
7 England FW Jennison Myrie-Williams
8 Scotland MF Scott Robertson
9 Republic of Ireland FW Jon Daly
10 England FW Danny Cadamarteri
11 Spain FW Francisco Sandaza
12 Scotland MF David Robertson
13 England GK Steve Banks
14 Scotland MF Danny Swanson
15 Ghana MF Prince Buaben
No. Position Player
16 Senegal MF Morgaro Gomis
17 Latvia DF Pāvels Mihadjuks
18 Scotland DF Garry Kenneth
19 Switzerland DF Mihael Kovačević
20 Germany FW Andis Shala
21 Argentina FW Damián Casalinuovo
22 Scotland FW Kevin Smith
23 Scotland DF Paul Dixon
24 Scotland MF Greg Cameron
25 Scotland FW David Goodwillie
26 Scotland MF Ryan McCord
28 Scotland FW Marco Andreoni
31 England GK Conor Grant
32 Scotland MF Ross McCord
38 Scotland FW Dale Hilson

Players out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
27 Scotland DF Keith Watson (on loan to East Fife)
29 Scotland FW Johnny Russell (on loan to Raith Rovers)
For recent transfers, see List of Scottish football transfers 2009–10

Noted players

International players

This is a list of former and current players who have played at full international level while with the club. They are ordered by nationality and year of United debut below.

Canada Canada
Finland Finland
Ghana Ghana
Iceland Iceland
Israel Israel
Latvia Latvia
Northern Ireland Northern Ireland
Scotland Scotland
Senegal Senegal
Sweden Sweden
Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Yugoslavia

Hall of Fame

The club launched its official Hall of Fame in 2008, with seven inaugural members.[44] A further six players were inducted in January 2009[45] and seven more in January 2010.





List of prominent and recent managers, with respective records, as of 14 March 2010. Only competitive matches are counted.[46][47]

From To Name P W D L F A Win %
1959 1971 Scotland Kerr, JerryJerry Kerr 566 247 123 196 1059 942 43.6
1971 1993 Scotland McLean, JimJim McLean 1094 527 266 301 1722 1128 48.2
1993 1995 Croatia Golac, IvanIvan Golac 72 25 22 25 114 113 34.7
1995 1996 Scotland Kirkwood, BillyBilly Kirkwood 56 25 13 18 108 66 44.6
1996 1998 Scotland McLean, TommyTommy McLean 93 36 27 30 134 107 38.7
1998 2000 Scotland Sturrock, PaulPaul Sturrock 85 27 19 39 97 119 31.8
2000 2002 Scotland Smith, AlexAlex Smith 99 31 23 45 107 146 31.3
2002 2003 Scotland Hegarty, PaulPaul Hegarty 18 4 5 9 20 33 22.2
2003 2005 Scotland McCall, IanIan McCall 92 28 24 40 116 149 30.4
2005 2006 Scotland Chisholm, GordonGordon Chisholm 36 10 10 16 40 54 27.8
2006 2006 Scotland Brewster, CraigCraig Brewster 30 3 11 16 28 59 10.0
2006 2009 Scotland Levein, CraigCraig Levein 136 55 40 41 185 160 40.4
2009 Present Scotland Houston, PeterPeter Houston 16 8 4 4 26 23 50.0


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  31. ^ "Dundee rivals request groundshare". BBC Sport website. 17 September 2002. 
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  34. ^ "10 Differences between Ben Aden and Sir Anthony Eden". The Angry Corrie Issue 12: April/May 1993. Retrieved 26 September 2006. 
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  36. ^ "ArabTRUST News". Dundee United FC. Retrieved 28 September 2006. 
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  38. ^ "Zippy is top fan". BBC Sport website. 10 March 2006. 
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  47. ^ Steve Gracie. The Rise of the Terrors. Arabest Publishing. 

External links


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